HARARE, Feb 14 — Workers under Harare Water, the agency in charge of water for the Zimbabwean capital, have given the City Council 14 days’ notice to go on strike in protest over failure by the council to pay their salaries on time.

“We gave out this notice to the various responsible ministries, the mayor, the police and other relevant parties notifying them of our intention to carry out a strike if the management does not meet our requirements,” Water and Allied Workers Union secretary general Kenias Chivuzhe said here Thursday.

The workers have allegedly not been paid their December and January salaries and only received their November salaries and bonuses on Thursday. “We only received last year’s bonuses today (Thursday), and we do not know when we shall get our December and January salaries,” said Chivuzhe.

He added that under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the council was obliged to pay salaries not later than the business day before the 28th of each month.

He also said the council management had not sought to engage the workers over the issue. “They should have the courtesy to engage us, not as they did last month lying to us. If they can make a commitment and pay the outstanding monies then we will call off the strike,” he said.

The issue appears to have been compounded by the bank that the Harare City Council uses, Afrasia Kingdom Bank, which is failing to deposit money into workers’ bank accounts despite the council having paid it, citing liquidity constraints.

Workers are angry that the bank is demanding that they open accounts with it to ease the challenge. “We find the bank’s position unacceptable and an unnecessary interference with employees’ fundamental rights which includes the choice of what institution to bank with,” Chivuzhe said.

Last month the workers threatened to go on strike but management restrained them by promising to pay the outstanding salaries. However, that did not materialize as management reneged on its promise.


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